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Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 review

A closer look at the now quad-core tablet from Korea

Our Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 is a new flagship tablet from the Korean company that offers quad-core processing and an intuitive interface thanks to its S-Pen stylus.

Product features

  • Screen Resolution : 1280 x 800
  • Processor Core : Quad-core (4 Core)
  • Rear Camera Resolution : 5 Megapixel

View full specification

For

  • Split screen action
  • Quad-core power
  • Intuitive S-Pen
  • Photoshop Touch pre-loaded

Against

  • Average display
  • Mediocre camera
  • Plastic chassis
  • Bloatware galore

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 is a top-tier entrant into to the ever-expanding Android tablet market that its makers will hope fares well against the likes of the Asus Transformer range, the Toshiba AT300 and Acer's Iconia Tabs.

However, it comes at a more premium price tag than some of its rivals, with only the flagship Asus Transformer Prime Infinity costing more in the big-screen tablet arena. And crucially, given Samsung's huge rivalry with Apple, it's a tablet that squares up directly against the new iPad in terms of cost.

It's USP - the S-Pen - may win some fandroids over, though, and there are plenty of standout software tweaks to get excited about.

We liked

We're massive fans of a native experience, and we're of the opinion that if you're going to skin Google's mobile platform then you should do it comprehensively - don't just make small changes here and there for the sake of it. Alterations should enhance, or at least differentiate, the experience.

Luckily, Samsung seems to have this philosophy too, and the TouchWiz UI onboard the Galaxy Note 10.1 offers some fantastic software options, such as the split-screen app viewing, the picture-out video playback and, of course, the S-Pen control.

The quad-core Exynos processor, combined with 2GB of RAM, also means that the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 doesn't disappoint when it comes to speed and performance. Apps are quick to load, media playback is stutter-free and multitasking is done with ease.

We disliked

The design is strikingly similar to the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 - a far more budget-friendly tablet - which is a shame. It's a shame because, while the price tag is the same, the design of the Galaxy Note 10.1 is nowhere near on a par with the new iPad.

And while the quad-core grunt and healthy RAM offering outdoes its Cupertino-based rival, the display lacks the wow factor of Apple's incredible Retina screen.

Also, despite us praising the TouchWiz interface, there is a hint of overkill when it comes to Samsung's customisations. Google produces perfectly good (nay, brilliant) email and calendar apps, so it's a pity that Samsung continues to force feed us its own variations.

Final verdict

Let us get the obvious out of the way first - no, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 is not an iPad killer. Despite being priced-up identically, Apple's 10-inch tablet easily comes out top.

But that's not necessarily a decisive blow for the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1. Not everyone buys into Apple's walled ecosystem, after all - many people are looking for an Android adventure. And in this sense, the Note 10.1 doesn't disappoint.

Its S-Pen control setup is brilliantly intuitive, especially when combined with arty apps such as Photoshop Touch, and Samsung has made some great alterations to Google's mobile OS.

Split-screen app viewing works particularly well on a tablet, and the pop-out video window is great for casual viewing when you need to also check your emails or get stuff done on the web.

And while we've lamented the fact that the design is no better than the more affordable Galaxy Tab 2 10.1, it's still not a bad-looking tablet. And, let's be frank, it at least stands out from the vast array of black tablet clones that are already available.

Ultimately, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 is a step up for Samsung, and is the best tablet to land from the Korean giant since the original Galaxy Tab 10.1 landed in 2011. It's super-speedy thanks to the quad-core CPU, and multitasking is a breeze thanks to the generous memory onboard.

The price is perhaps a bit more than we would have liked, and it's perhaps not the game-changer that we were secretly hoping Samsung had up its sleeve, but it's still a great 10-inch tablet with a stylish-twist (or should that be stylus-twist?).

Tech Specs

Product TypeTablet
Green CompliantYes
Flash Memory Capacity16 GB
Processor ManufacturerARM
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
Optical Drive TypeNo
Graphics Memory AccessibilityShared
GPSYes
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyEDGE, GPRS, UMTS, HSPA+
Product FamilyGalaxy Note
Front Camera/WebcamYes
Operating System PlatformAndroid
ColourWhite
Operating SystemAndroid 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
Brand NameSamsung
Form FactorSlate
Processor Speed1.40 GHz
Processor TypeCortex A9
Screen Size25.7 cm (10.1")
Screen Resolution1280 x 800
Standard Memory1 GB
Weight (Approximate)580 g
Processor CoreQuad-core (4 Core)
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityWEEE
Memory Card ReaderYes
TouchscreenYes
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
DigitizerYes
WWAN SupportedYes
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11a/b/g/n
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 4.0
Cellular Generation3G
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Rear Camera Resolution5 Megapixel
Height175.3 mm
Width257.8 mm
Depth8.9 mm
Screen ModeWXGA
ManufacturerSamsung
Product ModelGT-N8000
Product NameGalaxy Note GT-N8000 Tablet
Product LineGalaxy Note
Aspect Ratio16:10
Manufacturer Part NumberGT-N8000ZWABTU
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.samsung.com/uk/
Marketing Information

Choose the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 and discover the new way to set your creativity free. It's portable, yet offers multitasking like a PC thanks to its large 10.1-inch screen. Meanwhile, the intuitive and precise embedded S-Pen makes it so simple to take notes, draw, sketch and express yourself perfectly. With S-Note, your note-taking is full of rich possibilities which you can easily put together into a story. Shape Match even lets you visualise your ideas and turn them into quickly into graphs and other finished items you'll be proud to share.

Multiscreen Real multitasking on the portable 10.1" screen
Now, you can do 2 things at the same time. For example, what if you want to see an actor's profile while watching a movie you recently downloaded? Just use the "Multi screen" button and open the internet browser or the S Note. You don't need to stop the movie or the browser so that you surf web or make a note. If you want to copy the image? Just capture and drag it to the S Note opened right next to the web page.

Embedded S Pen: Real Pen-like feeling for a natural writing experience
Precise versatile S Pen enables you to get a premium experience for note-taking, sketching, drawing, and other forms of creative expression.

S Note: The easy-to-use creation tool
7 Templates to express life's every detail. Make your own story by selecting one of the S Note templates. S Note makes your note-taking and creation rich and neat. * 7 templates: Note / Idea note / Meeting Note / Magazine / Diary / Recipe / Travel.

Shape Match
Visualise your ideas better by turning squiggly shapes into neat organised figures. The Shape Match will automatically corrects the lines and shapes.

Formula Match
Easily recognise complicated formulas to text and even find detailed and visual solutions.

Adobe® Photoshop Touch: Free embedded creation tool
Now, everyone can create more with ease. You can make fascinating image artworks or edit your photos.

Allshare Play & Cast - Seamless Sharing
Connection to other tablets, laptops or TVs lets you share and experience multimedia together, wherever you are.

Fast & Powerful
You will enjoy the best performance from a very fast and powerful 1.4GHz quad core processor that delivers the most seamless, enjoyable mobile experience. Everything from navigating UI to multitasking to web surfing is made faster and easier; indulge in multimedia on the go without a second thought. Large battery capacity means less frequent recharging because your power lasts longer for more sustained usage.

HSPA+ 21 & Wi-Fi Channel Bonding
Revel in mobile multimedia without restraint or delay with impressively fast transmission speeds that allows you to get your files so much quicker. HSDPA+ is three times speedier, thereby reducing your wait time to a third so you can enjoy your multimedia even sooner. Wi-Fi Channel Bonding also boosts wireless data transmission rates by efficiently using two bonded channels instead of one so you can access web-based content such as movie downloads, music files and games in half the usual time. Wait less, enjoy sooner -- it's as simple as that.

Best Multimedia Experience on a Large Screen
1080p Full HD Playback on a larger screen promises to intensify your viewing pleasure. Whether you're watching downloaded videos, catching the latest viral sensation on YouTube or live streaming, you'll be able to see everything in bright, crystal clear high definition. Cross-platform compatibility with multi codec means you'll never be frustrated by blocked or incompatible files in your downloads, viewing and transfers for a seamless mobile experience.

Package Contents
  • Galaxy Note GT-N8000 Tablet
  • AC Adapter
  • S Pen